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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

AIJBXANDER  VON   HUMBOLBT.                197
the civil liberty of the human race, the view of the
great nature was extended, and with the love of soli-
tude, of solemn reflection, and self-examination, the
feeling of beauty and order in nature sought to admire
the goodness of the Creator; how Christianity in-
spired individuals of the Germanic and Celtic races,
more devoted to adoration of natiire, to investigate
the preserving and destroying forces in nature, and
thus incurred the risk of falling a victim to the belief
in sorcery of the common people: but how, in the
middle ages, the unconcealed joy in the pleasures of
nature was developed, mixed, in the Indo-Germanic
races of Northern Eiirope, with romantic sentimental-
ism ; how, finally, in more modern centuries, depth
of feeling and vivacity in the appreciation and influ-
ence of nature prevail among nations. Humboldt
describes all this in an instructive and interesting,
manner, and he then advocates that poetry of nature
where the poetical is born from the secretly-felt union
of the sensual with the intellectual, from the feeling
of universality and unity of natural life.
Landscape-painting  has also,  in  Humboldt's  opi-
nion, an influential effect as an incentive to  natural
studies ; it increases a love for nature.    On this sub-
j ect, Humboldt enters into the gradual introduction of
landscape-painting, which,   in its real  development.,
belongs to the latest period of the middle ages,  and
owes much to the brothers Eyck.    The greatest era
in landscape-painting was the seventeenth century;
at that time there lived Claude Lorraine, the idyllic
painter of light and of clear perspective ; Buysdael,
grand in dark forests and threatening clouds; Gaspard
and Nicholas Poussin, distinguished for their repre-
sentation of romantic scenes; Everdingen, Hobbem%
and Cuyp, for their fidelity in copying natxire.    Theae
painters, says Huxnboldt, intelligently copied what Hbe
vegetation of Northern Europe,  of Southern Italy,
and of the Iberian, peninsula, offered them.    But Łe
recognises a higher grade of landscape-painting in the
representation of individual  forms of nature, which
was not possible till the geographical knowledge of